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Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife Art’

James Castle, CAS11-0171 Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

James Castle, Untitled (black form), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.

In the new double show at Jackson’s Tayloe Piggott Gallery, there’s a complementary and slightly chilling collection of works by James Castle and Nicola Hicks. Castle was a profoundly deaf, self-taught artist. His mother was a midwife and his father ran the Garden Valley, Idaho post office.

James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo) n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. James Castle, CAS09-0324 Untitled (flamingo), n.d. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

James Castle, Untitled (flamingo)
n.d., Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string. Found paper, soot, color of unknown origin, string, 28 3/4 x 10 in.

Always poor, often on subsistence, Castle came to know a little sign language and developed a love for lettering. He “…is known for the skill of his draftsmanship,…subject matter and for his use of found and homemade materials. His recurrent and diverse themes tell an intimate story of a life lived in rural Idaho during the 20th century.”

Looking at Castle’s work I experience guilt as if I’ve broken into a child’s secret diary. It’s slightly agonizing, albeit fascinating, to study a Castle work; they’re heartrending. Eternally enigmatic, but with glimpses of a compromised soul’s joy in creating art. Displaying a man-child’s heart, Castle’s works seem stuffed in tiny boxes. Imagine, too, the drawings of an unborn child tucked in a dark, warm space, sensing fuzzy edges of the outside world.


Nicola Hicks’ electric, recumbent bear prompted an email to friends much more familiar with bears’ private behavior. “Would a bear lie in this position on its own accord,” I asked. “Or would it only roll over on its back, belly exposed, if it was coerced by humans?”

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Nicola Hicks, Untitled (Bear laying down), 2010 Charcoal and chalk on brown paper, 66 x 82 in.

Bears do lie around tummy up. “They’re like dogs,” one of my experts explained. “They can be spotted rolling around in dense forest glens or by a body of water, cooling off.”

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

Nicola Hicks, Owl, ed. 1/1, 2014. Monoprint, 29 3/4 x 22 1/8 in. (75.6 x 56.2 cm)

All this goes along with what seems to be Hicks’ core artist statement: Creatures of the earth are “…animalistic in form and body, yet uncannily human.” She’s on the anthropomorphism train.

Hicks’ show includes plaster casts (ultimately brass sculptures) of animals—seemingly locked in suffocating, snare-like dried mud pierced by sharp objects—and works on paper. It’s tempting to grab a sledgehammer and free these entombed creatures. Something new, an exercise in “different.” Hicks’ chalk, charcoal and monoprints depict wild and domestic animals, extended and sinewy. A portrait of a big sleeping dog has real heft. You feel the weight of the animal’s massive head.

The bear wins!

The exhibition remains on display through August 16th, 2015.


Katy Ann Fox, "On the Way to Breakfast." 12x12" Oil on Panel

Katy Ann Fox, “On the Way to Breakfast.” 12×12″ Oil on Panel

Together or Separate: New Works by Eleanor Anderson and Katy Ann Fox, opens at the Daly Gallery-Daly Project on Thursday, July 9, with a reception from 5-7:00pm. Anderson’s bright, whimsical ceramics and Fox’s airy, well-composed canvases are on view through July 24th.

We strive to be open Tuesday through Saturday, 1o AM to 6 PM. Or by appointment, 307-699-7933,” notes the gallery.


And don’t forget: Catch up with more Jackson Hole art scene goings-on by logging on to This week: “Plein Air for the Park!”  

Erin C. O'Connor. On Evening's Edge. Oil on Linen.

Erin C. O’Connor. On Evening’s Edge. Oil on Linen.

David Gonzales

David Gonzales

(Note: This post was set to run a few days ago–its publishing is slightly delayed due to the sudden news about Masters Studio.)

A text I sent to TreeFight founder/photographer/activist David Gonzales (on YouTube) let him know I’d be attending Treeball, Gonzales’ inaugural jamboree to raise funds for his cause: saving our forests from the mountain pine beetle. I cautioned Gonzales he would have to give me a Tree Dance. David didn’t respond, but that’s because he was so busy Tree Planning. Attendance was awesome—it would be difficult to fit many more people in the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s lobby; that night the space was occupied by a big band, serious cameras rolling, wicked sharp axes swinging and lively Contemporary Dance Wyoming dancers. “Tree Tights,” images of beautiful women in filmy gowns perched aloft in pine branches, and “bendy” young ladies were a big lure. Next year, as our dear host heard way more than he wanted to, we women demand gorgeous Tree Men, scantily clad, and some Tree Chippendales.

Tree Tight Dancers

Tree Tight Dancers-Courtesy TreeFight

Gonzales’ passionate, detailed speech provided the party’s heart. Most surprising was the diversity of attendees’ age. Energy was up and expectant; people dressed beautifully! That week curtains of rain, snow and plunging temperatures threatened to sink people’s energy, and there was some concern Treeball could end up a Tree Coffee Klatch.

trgreenlogoBut Jacksonites have a habit of making last minute decisions, and true to form big numbers of Treeball guests pledged their $50 entry fee, a reasonable ticket price offering a big night. Result: bankers, lawyers, architects, doctors, artists, administrators, conservationists, political operatives, journalists, outfitters, athletes and more poured in. Ice is breaking between our creative generations, and sincere, affectionate regard prevailed. Jackson’s healthily rebellious, super-smart 20 and 30-somethings are weaving themselves into Jackson’s established art galleries and institutions, and vice versa. Such trends stimulate innovation, empowering both (or three, maybe four) generations towards exciting new ideas with potential to become tradition. It’s not such a bad word, “tradition.” All traditions—and sustained activism—begin as something new.

Several TreeFight auction items were still available earlier this week: check them out at

We Tree Fought, we Tree Hugged. Gonzales may tweak a few details for Treeball 2, but I hope he felt the power. The power was there, and its roots are David Gonzales. Axes away!

Tree Fighters - Courtesy TreeFight

Tree Fighters – Courtesy TreeFight


Ten bucks. That’s all it costs to attend SHIFT’s 20/20 presentation, “Me, JH & Nature,” 6-9:00 pm, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Cook Auditorium on Sunday, October 13th. On SHIFT’s website, a $2 “processing” fee is mentioned, an add-on to your ticket price, but when I paid for my ticket online I got away without the $2 fee. Or so it seems.

This 20/20 (20 images, each with a 20 second narrative life span, also known as Pecha Kucha) once again shines a light on ourselves, and what we do to celebrate Jackson Hole’s “natural capital.”  Will the films affect change or action? TBD. May we witness Jacksonites displaying efforts in the name of conservation and preservation; may 20/20’s protagonists be inquisitive, probing and exploring new ground, initiating new research—like David Gonzales! The images will be fun to watch; they’ll be creative. A People’s Choice Award  of $1,000 will be given for the best presentation. Another $1,000 somehow makes its way to a non-profit; whether the money is distributed directly or through the winning filmmaker is unclear….but find out more!  Visit or email

Andrea Rich - Ravens.  Original Print, Woodcut,  Edition of 30

Andrea Rich – Ravens.
Original Print, Woodcut, Edition of 30

On the Western Visions “Still Available” website page the number of items still for sale at this writing is 93. Works remain on exhibit through October 27th, 2013.

Collectors may obtain works by “bidding and buying.” Works include sketches, sculptures, paintings, lithographs, etchings and woodcut prints, all depicting wildlife. You can find all the works on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art!  





Glenn Dean -"Rise"

Glenn Dean -“Rise”

New works by painters Glenn Dean, Jared Sanders and September Vhay will be on exhibition at Altamira Fine Art July 15-27, with an opening reception for all three artists on Thursday, July 18, 5-8:00 pm. Each artist brings renewed vision of their respective muses: for Dean, it’s landscapes imbued with a Taos light; Sanders’ renowned paintings of barns and other farm structures continue to accumulate silent power; and Vhay’s horses, accompanied by large-scale renderings of bison, are ever-intriguing.

“When I approach the landscape I try to simplify what I’m seeing. I strive to reduce the noise and look for nice color harmonies as well as positive and negative shapes playing off each other,” says Glenn Dean.

That’s modesty talking—Dean is much more complex than his statement suggests. A relatively young artist (Dean is 31), he has devoted himself to unraveling the complexities of works by great masters he admires; Maynard Dixon and Edgar Payne in particular.  For Dean, Dixon and Payne “painted things the way they were meant to be painted, with a solid sense of form and broad strokes of clean, defining color.”

So, if you’re thinking like Maynard did, you approach landscape painting with spiritual reverence. And you are straightforward in your beliefs, as well as the task in front of you, which, says the artist, is humbling. Something hidden resides in each bit of landscape~~all artists interpret what they see in individual ways, but each personal endeavor brings its own revelation, translated to canvas.

A native Westerner, Dean is California born and now travels and lives in the Southwest. Mountains, deserts, and coastlines are his favorite locations, and within each painting Dean manages to both delineate full shapes and fill them with powerfully blended colors. We are transfixed. The big Western media and invational venues are focused on young Dean: he’s snagged Art and Antiques magazine’s first “Emerging Artist Award,” and won the grand prize AND “Artists’ Choice” awards at the Tucson-Sonoran Desert Museum Invitational.  Wow.

Jared Sanders - "Shelter"

Jared Sanders – “Shelter”

“While some landscape painters relish capturing cheery beach scenes or sun-dappled aspen trees, [Jared] Sanders is drawn to the moody intervals that separate the seasons—the times between fall and winter and between winter and spring when he perceives subtle dramas unfolding.” – Southwest Art

Sanders’ show, “A Spirit of Place,” may certainly be about separation of seasons and the softer side of “idyllic,” but what Sanders has become known for is his ability to render barns and rural structures like the kind he knew as a child in a variety of settings and with a mastery of geometric composition and color. His is art that, at first glance may seem ever-repeating. Look again. With each work Sanders designs in depth, punctuating his compositions with brilliantly placed patches of color. Each work is a soul, and each soul regards viewer.

Sanders’ large, flat, geometric areas of color allow him to introduce those elements of abstraction and design into his paintings.

Sanders is meditative and precise, and his paintings stop you in your tracks. Allowing a long, luxurious amount of time to “read” Sanders’ paintings reaps endless rewards. This show, featuring full landscapes as well as barns, do demonstrate his singular intimacy with nature. He is a careful draftsman, sketching from hundreds of photographs he takes himself, and transfering them—–transforming them—-into his still, contemplative works of soft browns, yellows and pitch-perfect reds.

September Vhay - "Chiefs of the Day"

September Vhay – “Chiefs of the Day”

“Horses, bison, coyotes and deer grace the canvases — and a guest appearance by a hummingbird.” 

September Vhay’s new show, “A Divine Pause,” spotlights “animals both delicate and sturdy,” says Altamira. Vhay’s approach to her work remains classic, with a sense of dimension so palpable it can only come from a highly developed spatial aptitude. Vhay’s architectural background is evident in every work.

“My challenge and subsequent reward,” explains Vhay, “is to reorder reality by distilling it to its essence.” The truth of each subject lies in its essence, and intrinsic in that is great truth, she believes. “It is,” she says, “a pleasure to seek out this essence and to share it with others.”

Altamira sells Vhay’s works almost as quickly as they arrive at the gallery. This time, mule deer and foals share space with bull bison and “regal” horses. In fact, many creatures of the valley are rendered: fox and coyote make peace with each other and defer to a lighter-than-air hummingbird. Vhay deeply explores composition, color, light and expression; her backgrounds are often blank, elevating each creature to a higher status, and allowing their essence to be the work’s sole focus.

I happened to be in the gallery the afternoon Vhay’s charcoal works “Chiefs of the Day” and “Chiefs of Night” arrived. Measuring 30 x 77″ they are monumental in size, and viewers feel these iconic animals’ presence, inhale prairie dust, catch the scent of the buffalos’ hides, feel their hot breath.

“Confidence, power and beauty are intrinsic to September Vhay’s artwork, notes fine art consultant Katherine E. Harrington. “September’s soft touch demonstrates a refined appreciation of her subject. To look at September’s Vhay artwork gives the mind a place to rest.”


Watercolor images of wildlife and landscape, as well as works with religious themes by painter Morten Solberg are now on exhibition at Astoria Fine Art.  This is a solo show, but you can meet the artist, who has been painting for decades, at an artist’s reception on Thursday, SEPTEMBER 18th, 5-8:00 pm.

Solberg’s painting “The Artist,” shown at left, appears to be Solberg’s reverent portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.


George Catlin, Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie, 1832-1833, oil on canvas.

George Catlin, Buffalo Bull, Grazing on the Prairie, 1832-1833, oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.


The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Curator of Art, Adam Harris, is the guest curator for an exhibition opening May 18th, 2013 at the museum. This remarkable exhibition, assembled in cooperation with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, continues a new theme direction for the museum: exploration and examination of the American West. As a region, we’re shifting towards emphasizing the American West timeline, and along that timeline the overlapping, interconnected movements of art, conservation and exploration are continuous.

George Catlin’s American Buffalo is “entirely drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection,” and will remain on display through August 18th, 2013. The show looks at Catlin’s work and feelings about the West via his representation of buffalo and their “integration into the lives of Native Americans.” Forty works are featured.

“Catlin’s paintings illuminate in great detail the close ties between Native American tribes and bison in the 1830s, and his writings about the land and its native inhabitants have informed generations of conservationists as they wrestle with sustainable ways to manage America’s Great Plains,” says Harris, who also contributed an essay for the show’s illustrated catalogue, to be published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Having the chance to work with the Smithsonian American Art Museum to interpret Catlin’s words and images was a great honor,” Harris says. “The resulting exhibit and catalog will help contemporary audiences see Catlin in a new light.”

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase with Bows and Lances, 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

George Catlin, Buffalo Chase with Bows and Lances, 1832-1833, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

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Arthur Wardle (United Kingdom, 1864 – 1949), The Enchantress, 1901. Oil on Canvas. 62 x 43". Courtesy National Museum of Wildlife Art.

In his lifetime, British painter Arthur Wardle excelled at sporting art; but his claim to fame was in part due to his rejection of staying inside the boundaries of accepted animal and wildlife depiction. He “drew and painted every mammal, from elephant to mouse,” using a great range of mediums. By 1900, Wardle had made a quantum leap with subject matter and began rendering, erotically, mythical images of wildlife and women. Exotic creatures, like these giant leopards at play with a thinly clad, alluring woman (appearing a bit tousled, she and the leopards have clearly been rolling around in the iris; there’s no fear here–this painting depicts intimacy, curiosity and play) recall, as the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) says, the hedonistic spirit of Dionysus, Greek god of —-libido!  And of wine, women and song.

Get your head into that as you enjoy this month’s NMWA Mix’d Media, happening on Valentine’s Day-February 14th from 6-9:00 pm. “Legends of Mythology and Love” offers up Greek-themed food and drink, music and a free glass of pink bubbly to put you in the mood for love.  NMWA’s “The Enchantress,” a centerpiece of its exhibition “Human/Nature: Exploring Humanity’s Relationship with Wildlife,” has inspired the evening’s festivities.

NMWA’s Amy Goicoechea enlisted the help of Rush Jenkins and Klaus Baer of WRJ Design Associates to create a worthy, sumptuous setting. DJ Era spins music, “and those inspired by the evening’s more mystical elements can enjoy crystal readings by Daria and Power Animal Medicine readings by Teri Gilfilen,” notes NMWA. $5 cover at the door.



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